Wednesday, April 13, 2011


My mother liked "The Art Linkletter Show" and it was always on as we came home from school. One of Art's regular guests was Caroline Leonetti, who later married the extraordinarily wealthy Howard Ahmanson, and Art told how he had introduced her to Howard.

Caroline was a fashion expert and I laugh to realize that she continues to influence me today. When I see fashion "make-overs" on television, I think of Caroline. Art would choose audience members to be analyzed by Caroline and then they were sent out to be "made-over". My mother commented that amazingly, all the women returned looking like Caroline!

Caroline was always attired in Chanel-type (with her money, they were probably REAL Chanels) jacket and skirt, with the skirt just at the knee, with a perfectly coiffed, lacquered beehive hairdo. I learned about charmeuse, crepe, voile, organza, peau de soie and other exotic fabrics as well as hearing about famous designers.

Caroline's certitude was compelling. Every time I see a heavy person wearing horizontal stripes, my mind returns to hearing Caroline rail against that fashion faux pas. I also learned that short people should wear one solid color and not different colored separates because it "cut them off"; one solid color gives the illusion of height; choose black or other dark colors to give slimming effect; A-line dresses for ones with thigh problems; very seldom should one wear white shoes (preferably beige) but NEVER white shoes after Labor Day; purse and shoes should match; if one is wearing a full-length gown, the shoes MUST match the dress. [My ONLY pair of white shoes--the peau de soie ones--for my wedding day! I won't even wear white tennis shoes.]

I have always loved plaid, but I would never wear plaid because of Caroline's admonition about plaid making one look "bigger". I finally bought a Pendleton jacket--because I'd always wanted a Pendleton--but it's a conservative Black Watch plaid, but I wear it only a couple of times a year, always recalling Caroline's warning.

Several years ago my husband and I attended a summer wedding which was held outdoors. Gerald looked very well turned-out. I wore a navy blue frock trimmed in white, a white hat trimmed in navy blue, navy blue hose, navy blue shoes with matching Coach bag, and white GLOVES! (The hat and gloves make sense as I'm allergic to the sun.) As we were getting ready to leave, I asked my brother, which I always do, to inspect me and he asked, "Channeling Jackie Kennedy?" I said, "Ah, yes, but Caroline Leonetti would be so proud of me!" Gerald said, "I'm just the guy taking Jackie Kennedy to Paris." [When President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy went to France, she received a great deal of attention and when the President got up to make a speech, he introduced himself as "The man who brought Jackie Kennedy to Paris."]

1 comment:

Mona Lisa said...

And that damned Coco Chanel with the fisherman's tee-shirt with the horizontal stripes! At least her "little black dress" helped!